Purpose: The objective of this study was to determine whether the thermal dose delivered during hyperthermia treatments and other thermal factors correlate with outcome after combined radiation and hyperthermia of breast carcinoma recurrences. Data were from the combined hyperthermia and radiation treatment arms of four Phase III trials, which when pooled together, demonstrated a positive effect of hyperthermia.
Methods and materials: Four Phase III trials addressing the question of whether hyperthermia could improve the local response of superficial recurrent breast cancer to radiation therapy were combined into a single analysis. Thermal dosimetry data were collected from 120 of the 148 breast cancer recurrence patients who received hyperthermia. The data were analyzed for correlations between thermal parameters as well as important clinical parameters and outcome (complete response rate, local disease free survival, time to local failure, and overall survival).
Results: Five thermal parameters were tested, all associated with the low regions of the measured temperature distributions. Max(TDmin) and Sum(TDmin) were associated with complete response where TDmin is the minimum thermal dose measured by any of the tumor temperature sensors during a treatment: Max(TDmin) is the maximum of TDmin over a series of treatments. Using a categorical relationship with a cutoff of 10 min for Sum(TDmin), the complete response rate was 77% for Sum(TDmin) > 10 min and 43% for Sum(TDmin) < or = 10 min (p = 0.022, adjusted for study center and significant clinical factors). The overall complete response rate for hyperthermia and radiation was 61% compared to 41% for radiation alone. Either Max(TDmin) or Sum(TDmin) were also associated with local disease free survival, time to local failure and overall survival.
Conclusions: An earlier report of this trial demonstrated a significant benefit when hyperthermia was added to radiation in the treatment of breast cancer recurrences. The analysis of thermal factors demonstrates that parameters representative of the low end of the measured temperature distributions are associated with initial complete response rate, local disease-free survival, time to local failure and overall survival.